I guess I have a thing for 10-year-old games at the moment. I've been re-playing Metal Gear Solid from the collection I recently picked up. I had only planned to re-play MGS2 as a refresher before 4 comes out in June, but I figured I might as well hop in at MGS1 considering the last two games in the series I played were MGS3 and Portable Ops (and, as anyone reading this no doubt is aware, the series chronology goes: 3>PO>1>2>4).
This is my fourth or fifth time through the game, counting solo and co-op (passing the controller back and forth with a friend) playthroughs. The game holds up amazingly well, especially with the texture smoothing the PS3 can do for it. There's also an option to stretch the image to 16:9, but while that has worked for me in the past with GTA: San Andreas, it makes MGS look really off. Most amazingly, though, is how the actual gameplay holds up. I keep trying to figure out if this is a sign of one amazing game or a whole industry's stagnation.
At first it was a bit jarring not to be able to pull off Metal Gear moves I've become accustomed to, like the somersault, rail-hang, or box-climb (let alone first-person aiming). Before long, though, I was once again used to the relatively simplistic control scheme of the original MGS. Even after all this time, the game feels nearly perfectly executed, including the cut-scenes. The character models are now overly blocky, but none of the impact is lost. Truly an amazing feat if there ever was one. And David Hayter just sounds so good. Also, the hand-drawn character portraits present in the codec calls are hella cool, and they should have stuck with those throughout the series.
I'm just past the torture sequence, at around 6-and-a-half hours in, which is somewhere around half-way if I remember correctly. I know I still have the Hind (D), Sniper Wolf, Vulcan Raven, and the Rex/Liquid fights to go. I'll probably finish the game this week and move on the part 2 shortly.
More contemporaneously, I've picked up Ninja Gaiden DS, and it's awesome! This is hands-down the best gameplay use of the stylus I've seen yet. Admittedly, I've not played Zelda yet, but all indicators point to Ninja Gaiden one-upping it in the control department. Ryu controls smoothly and swiftly outside of battle, and quickly and precisely in battle. Like any good ninja, his sole purpose is to flip out and kill people.
This game was created expressly for the DS, and it really shows. Even in DS-as-book orientation, the game just feels awesome to play (even for a lefty like myself, thanks to the flip option). Stabbing and jabbing with the stylus is like second nature, and jumping maneuvers like the Flying Swallow or Izuna Drop also feel great to pull off by flicking the stylus up to jump, then across or up again to perform the attack. When I think of the feeling of playing this game, there's only one other game that comes to mind with such a smooth sense of fighting and mobility, and that's Symphony of the Night, and that's a hell of a game to draw comparison to.
Briefly, I downloaded the demo of Ikaruga on XBLA, and it's pretty cool (and tough). I also popped in Rock Band for a bit, in perverse observance of Europe's plight with this game. And finally, I hit up Puzzle Quest for a few minutes. They really should have created unique quests in that game for each of the character classes. I'm so far in with my Wizard that it'd be a huge waste of time to start over with another character (but I have anyway, once before), but I'd like to try out other classes, such as the 4 new ones they are adding in the ex-pac just over the horizon.